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Have I knackered my milk supply?

(12 Posts)
oysterpots Mon 27-Aug-07 11:41:26

DS is a month old and breastfed for most of that time. For the past week I've been giving him a formula bottle at 11pm on the advice of a midwife who said it might help him sleep a bit longer through the night.

For about the same period of time I've had thrush in my nipples and feeding has been particularly painful - to the extent that I've been reluctant to persist with the feed/offer second breast when DS nods off.

I've also been expressing and giving him EBM in a bottle to give my nipples a break, and normally able to produce around 2-2.5fl oz per breast. But this morning I could only get 1fl oz out of both breast combined

Does this mean my supply is drying up? He did feed a lot in the night and early this morning, but I didn't wake up with my breasts leaking or feeling large this morning.

Help! I do really want to carry on with the bf, it's just been extremely painful with the thrush. [feeling sorry for myself emoticon]

oysterpots Mon 27-Aug-07 11:58:13

Shit - have just remembered that when MIL took him for a couple of hours yesterday I gave her 1.5fl oz of ebm for him and she gave him that but topped him up with formula.

And today I've had to do the same

Is this the end of my bf career? Is it reversible?? Help!

Cappuccino Mon 27-Aug-07 12:00:11

I'm sure it's not the end milk supply is much more recoverable than you think

I'm sure some clever people will be on soon with much more practical info for you but all i know is, bf is not over, you can get past this

good luck, and don't worry

lljkk Mon 27-Aug-07 12:04:15

You need to get the thrush treated, that's the greatest problem you have.

So, tell us, has he slept longer on a bottle??

People I know who successfully combi-fed did 3 things:
Usually just one feed on bottle
Very consistent about which feed was bottle -- don't chop and change times/amounts from day to day.
Still breastfed (or express) at least once at night.

When tiktok sees this she'll give the best advice, but I would think if you go by the principles above -- and get the thrush sorted out ASAP! -- you can still mostly breastfeed.

Good luck.

puffylovett Mon 27-Aug-07 12:11:05

Hi oysterpots, well done for getting this far ! your bf career isnt over, it's based on supply and demand so all you need to do is feed more.

i personally wouldn't top up with formula as nightime is when your body produces the hormones that tell it to make more milk (you'll find lots of info about that on here or on www.kellymom.com) however it's your personal decision if you want to top up. I feel that they are little for such a short space of time and they will only need nightfeeds for such a short time, that its a small sacrifice to make to be up once or twice. (unless he's up all the time in which case i can totally understand !)

Also, hes very little to expect him to sleep through at this age, his stomach is very small and topping up with formula will probably mess with your supply as it will sit in his stomach for longer, telling your boobs to produce less at a time when they should really be trying to produce more.

They do go through a big growth spurt at 4-6 weeks old so you may find that he wants to feed more often. My advice would be to get the thrush treated ASAP if you're not already, take your baby to bed for a few days and just feed feed feed to get your supply established. Forget the formula and call on family to help with cooking and cleaning and just be with your baby - co sleep if need be.

also you don't get as much out of your boobs when you express as DS will when he actually suckles so don't rely on that as an indication of how much you're producing.

i hope this helps, you'll get lots more encouragement from other MNetters when the bank hols is over probably ! best of luck

tiktok Mon 27-Aug-07 14:57:26

oysterpots, no, you haven't messed it all up.

But you are sensible to take a step back for a think

Is the thrush being treated properly?

Topping up with formula in the night doesn't support effective bf....a baby of a month old quite naturally wakes a lot to feed, too.

The only really effective way to maintain and build a good milk supply is to feed responsively - that's the biology of it

oysterpots Mon 27-Aug-07 18:01:24

The topping up doesn't even make him sleep better - in fact, I think he was sleeping better and was more contented when I wasn't giving him formula or expressing.

Thrush is being treated with Daktarin cream for my nipples and DS bottom, and Daktarin oral gel for him too. Think it might be a particularly bad case as GP misdiagnosed it as mastitis to begin with so had a course of antibiotics before beginning on the thrush treatment which I understand can make yeast infections worse.

Lots of my friends with babies suggested I try to get him used to taking a bottle early as they didn't and found their LOs then never took one. So is it possible to combine bf and bottles? I'd ideally like to only give breast milk and abandon the formula altogether.

Thanks for the responses so far - feel much better about this now. Also think the thrush treatment is working as the feeding is becoming less painful. Seriously, I've found breastfeeding more painful than labour!

lljkk Mon 27-Aug-07 18:12:06

Ha! Sorry, but mini-gloat here, I rarely meet a woman with a very young baby who reckons trying formula made them sleep better/have less tummy ache/be more settled, etc. Not unless they had major supply issues in the first place.

Sorry I know nothing about thrush, but other women have had it and dealt with it while bfeeding -- use the search facility on MN to look at old threads talking about thrush, I suppose.

I don't know what the statistics are for combi-feeding, but I do know a lot of women who did it long-term with success (see the things I said before). Still Tiktok is right, any topping up you do will just be a message to your body to not make so much milk next time, which can turn into a downward spiral, best avoided if you don't want to use formula long-term.

My babies weren't keen on bottles, either, but could use sippy cups from about 4 months.

hercules1 Mon 27-Aug-07 18:13:53

DD didnt have any bottles but took expressed milk at 6 months from dh with a bottle - it was a funny brand which you can only buy from independant chemists.

oysterpots Mon 27-Aug-07 19:32:13

lljkk - I'm sure that is the case but as a first timer I was following the advice of the midwife.

I had problems with the bf right from the start - found it very difficult. Might have been something to do with the fact that my DS was diagnosed with pneumonia at one day old and we had to stay in hospital for a week while he was given 2 lots of IV antibiotic drips. But this is one of the reasons I really want to carry on with the feeding as I feel he's had a rocky start already and I want to give him the best I can (plus his dad has serious nut allergy).

Now I'm finding the feeding so painful that yesterday when I had a near miss in the car my first thought was 'if that car had hit me and I was in hospital no-one would think badly of me for switching to formula feeding'. Definitely think something is wrong for me to be thinking like that.

btw, I don't think the problem is attachment as I asked every midwife at every feed to check it when we were in the hospital, plus midwives and health visitors since we got home, and have had an NCT bf counsellor visit the house and see whether I'm doing anything wrong.

lljkk Mon 27-Aug-07 19:33:55

Not blaming you, oysterpots, sometimes you have to try things to realise they don't work(!).

puffylovett Mon 27-Aug-07 19:55:44

hi, well then well done for perservering in such hard circumstances ! you should give yourself a mighty big pat on the back.

IME antibiotics can often contribute to and be the cause of bad thrush - they kill good bacteria, which allows candida yeasts to flourish and in a babies sterile digestive tract i'm not surprised you've both had thrush orally and on nips because there will have been no opportunity for his good bacteria to flourish and plenty for the candida to take hold and multiply.

I would express for the night feed. You should take a course of good strong acidophilus tablets to replenish your good bacteria (Lamberts do a 10,000 strength i think).

I wouild also add some good bacteria to your babies expressed bottle - Solgar do a good make called ABCDophilus, available from most health food shops. this will top up your babies good bacteria as well.

This willhelp both of you fight the thrush.

Also and i know this sounds odd, but put some live natural yoghurt on your nipples - the good bacteria in it will again help to fight the thrush, but obviously wash off with water before feeding ds.

All this moight sound odd but I work for a place that specialises in treating systemic and vaginal candida and we've used the ABCDoph with babies to great effect lots of times ! And the yoghurt helps loads vaginally, so why not on the nips ?

good luck !

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